Dates of the carnival : 02 - 05 Mar 2019
Location : Throughout Goa
Type : Cultural
Merriment : Festival of Color, Song and Music
This carnival cum festival was first started in Goa in the year 1961. It was initially celebrated by King Momo, one of the legendary Chaos kings of the state and is one of the Portuguese festivals. Since the state has experienced the reign of different Portuguese rulers for more than 500 years, this festival reflects some of the Portuguese lifestyle.
However, nowadays, people from different caste and creed celebrate as well as participate in this carnival. This Goan festival has derived its meaning from the Latin word 'Carnival', which means 'to throw away meat'. Thus, one of the strict rules of this important festival of Goa is to refrain from meat during the carnival days. Generally stretching for 3 days to 4 days in a year, this carnival is one of the eagerly awaited Goan festivals. In the earlier days, the festival was celebrated solely by the locals of the state but presently, apart from breaking the frontiers of the state, this carnival of Goa attracts many people from different parts of India as well as across the globe.
This festival is celebrated before the starting of Lent that is believed to be the time when Lord Jesus Christ spent 40 days in wilderness. As per tradition, during the period of Lent, people are neither supposed to indulge themselves in any kind of celebration nor consume rich foods like meat, fats, dairy products etc. so people thought of celebrating before that. Thus, the carnival originated with a grand party which involved consumption of the varied kinds of rich food by the entire community.
During the starting of the festival, the Goan carnival was featured with a role play by the colonial rulers along with their slaves, where the rulers used to play the role of their slaves whereas, the slaves used to play the role of their masters by plastering their faces with white colored flour. In this way, the Goa Carnival used to spread amusement during its initial years.
The different kinds of celebrations in the Goa Carnival include singing, dancing, drinking, feasting and various other types of merry making. All major streets of the state become lively with the graceful dances, strumming of guitars, lively processions and many more. Apart from the non-stop festivity, the streets are decorated with vibrant colors and floats.
The celebrations of Goa carnival are not just restricted to the day time. A number of acrobats, brass bands, clowns, dancers, fire eaters, jesters etc. are seen to be performing in the streets of some of the major cities of Goa. The celebrations are carried on throughout the nights of those festival days. A huge amount of zest and zeal are seen among the crowd during this state carnival. Dominated by lots of fun and enjoyment, a niche has been carved with a unique characteristic charm.
Being a blend of the local as well as the Portuguese culture, this Goa Carnival is known for spreading joy and happiness. Doses of Feni along with the different kinds of sumptuous local food just add on to the fun of the carnival.